All Eyes on Billy Gillispie.

It should come as no surprise.  Random school does it.  Anything.  It doesn’t matter.  From recruiting 8th graders to UCLA paying players to stay at UCLA.  Whatever it might be.  Any school does it.  No headlines.  No outrage.  No real objections.

UK does it.  Suddenly it’s a problem.  Billy Gillispie inks an 8th Grader.  Dick Vitale screams that it’s a sign of the Apocalypse.  Billy Donovan inks an 8th Grader and it’s a sign of his genius.  Billy Gillispie holds midnight madness a week early.  Headline news.  Four other schools did the same thing this year.  Can you name them?  A UCLA Booster paid it’s players thousands, tens of thousands over a ten year period.  Openly.  It was an open secret.  Absolutely not a peep from the NCAA.   Duke Boosters hire parents of players into positions for which they are unqualified and help them obtain loans for housing for which they are woefully financially unprepared.  Not a sound.  Not a whimper.  An Emery Envelope falls open in the hands of a UCLA fan containing $1,000.00.  Supposedly this envelope originated with a UK booster.  UK is put on two years probation.  Almost given the death sentence.  Emery was sued over this and settled out of court.

Now that UK has a Coach that will play the recruiting game within the rules.  He does things that journalists have always found “questionable” but rarely made much noise.  That is the old days.  A Kentucky Coach doing it is news.  Now they will make noise about it.

Jeff Goodman.  He admits that everyone is doing it.  But now that UK is doing it, he’s got himself a story.  That Baylor was doing it or Kansas or Oklahoma State were doing it.  Not big enough.  UK.  That’s a different story,  And one that must be written.

It’s a lack of journalistic integrity. It’s a lack of integrity within the NCAA Rules and Infractions Committee. It’s been there since the beginning.

KENTUCKY COMMIT NO SURPRISE
Oct 13, 2008 | 7:54AM

I have to admit I wasn’t surprised that Daniel Orton, one of the top big men in the country, committed to Kentucky over the weekend while in town for an early Midnight Madness.

Not because Kansas took itself out of the equation when the Jayhawks took a pledge from forward Thomas Robinson.

But because it certainly didn’t hurt that Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie paid Orton’s father, Larry, to speak at camps in Lexington on three separate occasions this past summer.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t against the rules.

It’s just Gillispie being Gillispie.

Remember, he was basically the guy that came under fire for being one of four coaches to hold Midnight Madness a week before the “official” start of practice.

Creative? Absolutely.

On the verge of being unethical?  It depends who you ask.

Larry Orton admitted he was also paid to speak at Kansas and Oklahoma State, but he only picked up one paycheck from each of those schools.

C’mon. He may be articulate, knowledgeable and could even rival Bill Clinton in terms of his ability to captivate a crowd, but that’s not why he was there.

He was there because he is Daniel Orton’s father.

AAU coaches, high school coaches and many others affiliated with top recruits have collected a paycheck for getting up in front of young kids at these summer camps.

Texas Blue Chips director Mitch Malone spoke a couple times at Baylor this past summer. He was involved in Ekpe Udoh’s transfer from Michigan to Baylor and also coaches Quincy Acy – who committed to the Bears and is one of the top players in Texas. There are plenty of others who take advantage.

It’s getting out of hand and isn’t illegal. Not yet.

It’s triggered an NCAA proposal (13.12.2.2.2) in which a school is not able to employ a speaker in its men’s basketball camp or clinic who is involved in coaching prospective student-athletes or is associated with a prospective student-athlete as a result of the prospective student-athlete’s participation in basketball.

I don’t mean to go after Orton here, but this guy isn’t exactly on par with, say, legendary high school coach Bob Hurley.

His background: a couple years of junior college ball, a cup of coffee at Old Dominion capped off at Cameron University in Oklahoma. He’s also an assistant AAU coach on his son’s team.

However, Orton’s resume doesn’t matter. He says he speaks about the recruiting process and “what’s going to happen once the kids get to school” and “to get kids to understand it’s hard work.”

“I’m not trying to get any special privileges or anything like that,” Orton said. “I just think I’ve got something to say. I think I’m a pretty good speaker.”

That’s not why Billy Gillispie has brought him to Lexington on three separate occasions – two with his son.

Orton wouldn’t divulge how much he was paid per appearance, but it’s likely somewhere in the neighborhood of $500-$1,000 a pop plus travel. That’s how much two other high school coaches were compensated to speak at one of the UK camps.

Orton’s other son, Terrence Crawford, who played for current Kentucky assistant Glynn Cyprien at Oklahoma State, also made numerous appearances at the Kentucky camps.

Larry Orton was recently unable to confirm whether schools had offered Crawford a position on their staff.

“I heard Kentucky and Oklahoma State both offered him a job,” Orton said. “I don’t know. Nothing’s done until it’s done. If he gets a job, it’s going to come out, anyway.”

As we know, that isn’t illegal either.